Reclamation Reading Room: Fierce Angels


At the time of this post I’m still reading this book, so we’ll see how it goes, but the first few chapters are enough for me to recommend it. In my own life i’ve seen the “strong Black woman” trope in action and how devastating it can be for Black women, just from a health perspective. I’ve also seen it used, or withheld, in ways that help black women navigate power plays at work and in relationships. Where did this archetype come from? How did it take hold in the American collective psyche and around the world? Dr. Sheri Parks explores…


“Piercing and provocative, Sheri Parks’s authoritative yet deeply personal study exposes the overwhelming emotional costs—as well as the benefits—of the black woman’s roles as communal savior and martyr.

Parks traces the development of the “strong black woman,” from the oldest ongoing archetype, the Dark Feminine, in ancient Greek and West African cultures to the Black Madonna celebrated by Italian Americans, from the nurturing and selfless “Mammy” to such modern-day inheritors of this legacy as Coretta Scott King, who relinquished her dreams for those of her husband, and Angela Dawson, an East Baltimore mother whose home was fire-bombed when she tried to save her community from drug dealers.

Bringing it all home, Parks recalls the personal costs she’s paid for her own identity and captures those moments when she is expected to be all and know all. She challenges readers, mothers, and daughters alike to examine how damaging and rewarding this role can be and to take control of it in their lives.”